The Official Blog of Karen Ullo
As we continue our journey with Christ in His passion, let us pray.
Father, I Put My Life In Your Hands (Psalm 31), John Michael Talbot
Stabat Mater, Giovanni Felice Sances, sung by Nuria Rial with L’Arpeggiata
From Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, O haupt voll Blut und Wunden (O Sacred Head Now Wounded), performed by Holland Baroque, the Netherlands Chamber Choir and the Roder Boys Choir
Miserere mei, Deus, Gregorio Allegri, conducted by Nigel Short
Expiró (Estación XII), Hakuna Group Music – The twelfth Station of the Cross
O Vos Omnes (O You People), David Childs, directed by Elizabeth Evans
Calvary, traditional Spiritual, sung by Mahalia Jackson
Pie Jesu, Andrew Lloyd Webber, sung by Charlotte Church and Willem Evans
If you don’t mind a less polished version, you can hear my son sing this with me during last year’s Good Friday liturgy here.
This is a strange time to be alive, and a strange time in which to worship. As Christians everywhere prepare to enter Holy Week, we do so in unprecedented ways, with liturgies streamed via television and internet, gathered as the Body of Christ but separated from the Table. Christ will be with us; that has not changed. Yet the prayer of the Church, especially in this holiest of all seasons, is intricately entwined with music, and this year, there will be no choirs, no orchestras. Some parishes, like mine, will offer a pared-down version of our usual music with one or two musicians, but it is certain that wherever you worship, Holy Week will not sound the same.
Nothing I could put into a blog post will change that fact. But for those who love to pray through music, I have put together a few offerings to help you lift up your soul—if not your voice—to the Lord on each day of the Sacred Triduum. Some are songs you might expect to hear in Catholic liturgy; some are borrowed from our brothers and sisters in other faith traditions; some are not liturgical at all, but to me, they reflect the spirit of each day. I hope you will pray while you listen and feel a little more connected to the mysteries of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection. I am posting each one a few days ahead of time so that you will have a chance to share with anyone who may benefit from them before the Triduum begins.
There is one advantage to this strange era of virtual worship, however, which is that it is just as easy to tune in to Mass on the other side of the globe as it is to attend your own parish. If you are looking for a “place” to pray this Holy Week, I invite you to join me at St. Jean Vianney Catholic Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I will be the cantor at our live-streamed services on this Facebook page. We begin Palm Sunday at 9:30 am, Holy Thursday 7:00 pm, Good Friday 3:00 pm, Easter Vigil 8:00 pm, and Easter Sunday 9:30 am, Central Daylight time. But wherever you are, whatever Mass you watch, know that we will be praying together, even from our living rooms.
And so let us enter into the three days in which we glory in the cross of Christ.
We Glory in Your Cross – Donald Pearson
Gloria in excelsis deo – Mozart, from Twelfth Mass
Psalm 116: 1-11 – Yehezkel Braun, sung in Hebrew by Matthew Kirchner with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Ubi Caritas – Gregorian chant, sung by the Choeur Gregorien de Paris
Let Us Break Bread Together, sung by Jessye Norman
Doxastikon of the Praises in the Holy Thursday evening Passion Gospels service, “My garments they took from me.” From the Greek Orthodox liturgy for Holy Thursday, sung by Fr. Apostolos Hill
Regardez l’humilité de Dieu, Anne-Sophie Rahm, recorded at Notre Dame des Champs, Paris
Pange Lingua, Gregorian chant, Chœur de l’abbaye Saint-Martin de Ligugé
I live in Louisiana, where it’s actually quite difficult to consider Lent a penitential season. No meat—go eat seafood. Um, okay.
But there are plenty of more obscure ways to fulfill your Lenten fast. So just in case you somehow manage to get tired of crawfish, crab, shrimp, oysters, clams, and a thousand varied species of fish (or if you’re one of those poor souls who lives in a land-locked place), here are a few other items you might consider adding to your Lenten table.
Gator is good, y’all. It’s so good, even alligators eat it. Personally, I like it blackened, that is, coated in a spice mixture and sautéed, but it’s also often served fried. If you can find it, try it. However, I’m still searching to find the part where eating this is penitential.
By the way, according to the USCCB website, all reptiles are fair game, so if you’ve got a hankering for rattlesnake or iguana, eat up.
- Muskrat and Beaver
I admit, I’ve never tried these, but long-standing oral tradition in the Michigan area held that they were Lent-approved because of their status as aquatic creatures, and the archbishop of Detroit made it official in 2002. According to Bishop Kenneth Povish of Lansing, “Anyone who could eat muskrat was doing penance worthy of the greatest saints.” If it tastes anything like nutria—which I have tried—he’s 100% correct, and we should probably all be eating aquatic rodents for Lent. Which brings me to…
Spanish missionaries in South America received a papal bull to have the capybara named a “fish” for Lenten purposes. Although it is another aquatic rodent, this one is supposed to be delicious, and it’s a regular Lenten dish to this day in Venezuela and other South American countries. Or so the Internet says. I kind of doubt it’s all that popular because I have a friend from Venezuela who says she wouldn’t eat one, and she’s pretty adventurous with her food. We’ve traded recipes for octopus.
If you want to continue the Lenten traditions of your African ancestors (or your Portuguese ancestors who evangelized Africa), you’re going to need a really, really big gun. And escape routes, because hippos are the deadliest large land mammal. The penitential part of this one is likely to be the hospital stay after you get bitten or sat on, assuming you survive.
It seems there was a bit of a dust-up over the practice of eating Puffin during Lent in a seventeenth-century French monastery. The Archbishop of Rouen forbade it because fowl are Lenten no-nos, so the monks assembled scientists to help prove their point that puffin was “more fish than fowl,” and the archbishop eventually relented. So I guess if you’re desperate for the taste of fowl this Lent, head to Normandy for some puffin hunting!
Catholic Reads has issued its Best of 2019 list, and Jennifer the Damned is their pick for favorite horror novel of the year! This is what they have to say:
Unlike other vampire novels, Jennifer the Damned treats death with the gravitas and consequences it deserves. Jennifer doesn’t revel in killing people, but fresh human blood is the only thing that can sustain her. No “vegetarian” vampires here! The story doesn’t hold back from how Catholic it is, either.
You can get your copy here, but don’t forget to check out all of the other awesome winners, too!
Karen Ullo is the author of two novels, Jennifer the Damned and Cinder Allia. She is also the managing editor of Dappled Things and a regular contributor to CatholicMom.com. She lives in Baton Rouge, LA with her husband and two young sons. Find out more at karenullo.com.